NOTE: After a nearly three year hiatus from blogging I decided to start again. With the most important presidential election this country has ever had coming in just five months, I felt the need to start again. I’ve left some of the old blog posts here, if you care to look at them. Warning, this post is fairly long and the answer to the question about how to love a liberal doesn’t come until the end.
I had an interesting conversation with my older brother last week. We live in different states and we were both, along with my younger brother, visiting our parents in Florida. Naturally, the subject of politics comes up, as it always does. You see, my older brother is a liberal (I know, the shame is almost too much to bear). He’s not what I would call a flaming liberal, but just one that leans toward a liberal philosophy.
He’s 62, works as an information technology executive for the state of Florida, an educated man, has worked hard all his life and never asked for or expected a handout, and of deep religious faith. Not what many of us think of as a stereotypical liberal.
IS HE A LIBERAL OR NOT?
So knowing him to be a very intelligent person (I’m sure his IQ vastly exceeds mine, and I’m a pretty smart guy), so when he told me he was going to vote for Obama, I was truly shocked. I thought, “I can almost understand voting for him the first time, but given Obama’s performance, nobody of reasonable intelligence could get bamboozled again!” Right?
Wrong. But why? I believe there are a lot of people like him out there. And if that is the case, what should our message be to voters of his ilk? Like most people who are strongly opinionated (like myself), it would be difficult to change his mind, but maybe that’s because we’re not targeting people like him with the right message.
After he told me about voting for Obama, I ended the conversation and ran out of the room like a spoiled child. I knew where the conversation would lead, and knowing my family, it was about to get ugly, and I wanted to avoid a yelling match.
I stewed about it for a while and decided I just had to know how he could do such a thing with all the evidence pointing to Obama being the worst president we’ve ever had. So, the next morning, I told him I wanted to ask him a few questions, and we agreed to not let the conversation get out of control. I just had to know.
I began the conversation by trying to agree on some basic ideas. So, I asked him, “Do you believe our country is facing a financial crisis?” I further framed the question by telling him my definition of crisis in this context meant that we are facing an imminent total financial collapse in the near future.
His answer: “No.” Well, if we couldn’t agree on that, there wasn’t much point in going further. He did however acknowledge that he hasn’t researched our financial situation, and not being a student of economics like me, he probably wouldn’t. He just believes our problems will be fixed, like they always have.
This brings up an important point though. If he is of this opinion, no doubt many others are. I’m guessing that if we could convince those like him that we are facing imminent collapse, one that will make the great depression look like a walk in the park, they might change their minds. The skeptic in me wants to think they know it deep down, but they’re sticking their heads in the sand and hoping it doesn’t happen before they die. But that little voice on my other shoulder tells me that’s not so. Most of them have children and surely they don’t want to leave them a country in turmoil.
FOUR KINDS OF LIBERALS.
I usually put liberals in categories like the following:
Flaming Zealots. These are ones that truly don’t like our country, don’t believe in free enterprise and truly would rather us live in a socialist society. They are naive and for some reason, believe they could achieve a utopian society, even though it’s never been accomplished in the past (you see, they’re so much smarter than those who’ve tried it before). Most of them are hippy wannabes or old hippies that never grew up. They have infiltrated our institutions of higher learning and teaching our children their tripe. These people vote.
Ambivalents. These are those that just want to go about their living, have lost faith in our government, and are typically uneducated regarding economics. They aren’t zealots and if you asked them if they are liberal, most would say no. They do however rely on the mainstream media for their opinions. They don’t understand that most media is no longer objective and nearly always fall for the “sound bite” messages being thrown at them in political campaigns. They believe in a sense of fairness and are subject to emotional appeals rather than logical debate. They simply will not dedicate the time to educate themselves. Many of them vote out of a sense of patriotic duty, but many do not, because “they’re just too busy,” or are skeptics believing that “the system is corrupt, so why bother.”
Entitlement Seekers. Now that we have nearly 50% of the workforce not paying any federal income tax, we are rapidly approaching a turning point. Entitlement seekers believe the world owes them something because they woke up this morning. They believe the government paying their way is a free ride. To them, it’s free money. It does not occur to them (or they don’t care) that every penny they take as an entitlement involves their neighbor paying for it. With regard to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, they don’t realize or care that what they will take out of it will vastly exceed what they paid into it. It becomes welfare, plain and simple. What bothers me is that many of these are senior citizens that would otherwise consider themselves conservatives. They want what they are owed (entitlements) and to hell with those left behind when it all falls apart. These are greedy old farts that should be ashamed of themselves.
Whiners. These voters have an intense sense of entitlement and believe there ought to be laws governing nearly everything. They want life to be fair, and by God, since it isn’t, let’s legislate it to make it that way. They do not buy into the concept that freedom means opportunity for all, not guaranteed success regardless of effort. They are the ones that love trial lawyers that will sue anyone for anything. They are the ones that fall for the class warfare messages. Republicans are evil and rich and every penny they have was stolen from the working class or taken from them unfairly.
So here’s my problem, I can’t plug my brother into any of these? He’s actually none of them. In fact, he has some very conservative views on many things, but when it comes to voting for Obama, he’s going to do just that. He’s not what I would consider an “Independent,” because he will nearly always vote Democrat.
So, I’m of the opinion that for people like him, our message should be focused like a laser on convincing them that we’re headed for disaster — very soon! It remains to be seen if we can recover from the damage Obama has already done, but if he’s elected again, I feel confident that we cannot.
THE PATH FOR SUCCESS.
We should ignore all other issues. I don’t give a rats ass about anything else right now. The so called “war on women,” gay rights, abortion, etc., are all completely meaningless to me right now. Because if we don’t get our financial house in order, right now, none of that other stuff will matter. We simply have to convince the public that we are are headed for a total meltdown. This is hard. Once we start talking about Keynesian economics vs. Friedman economics, their eyes glaze over. But, we’ve demonstrated that the free enterprise system has worked for over 200 years, yet there’s never in history been a successful implementation of the Keynesian model.
How do we do this? I have no idea. But I do believe we’re focusing on the wrong issues in our campaign to defeat President Obama. We shouldn’t take the bait every time the opposition throws out issues like gay marriage, birth control at Catholic universities, immigration reform, and every other social issue that liberals love to use as a tool to divide the nation. We should focus on impending doom. We simply have to convince the public that renovating the kitchen while the house is on fire makes no sense.
AND THE ANSWER IS.
And now for the answer to the title question. How can you love a liberal? It is indeed possible. I’ve always looked up to, admired, and loved my big brother, and I still do. We have helped each other over the years in difficult times. There is a saying that says “nothing unites those who oppose each other more than a common enemy.” We’ve faced common enemies in the past and continue to do so today. While we will likely never agree on politics, there is still much that unites us. I wish the rest of the public could be like that.